The proportion of Northern Ireland’s household waste prepared for reuse, dry recycling and composting has risen by 3.2 percentage points, according to provisional statistics.
Some 48.5% of the material was recycled between July and September last year, figures from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) show, up from 45.3% recorded during the same three months of 2015.
The landfill rate for household waste in Q3 2016 was 33.4%, a reduction on the 38.2% recorded during the same three months of 2015.
Household waste accounts for 89% of the local authority collected municipal waste in Northern Ireland.
The country’s councils collected 267,013 tonnes of municipal waste in the quarter, a 3.7% increase on the 257,445 tonnes collected during the same three months of 2015.
The municipal waste energy recovery rate was 17.8%, an increase of 1.6 percentage points on the July to September 2015 rate of 16.2%.
Environment minister Michelle McIlveen came under pressure after figures for 2015-16 showed 42.2% of household waste was sent for preparing for reuse, dry recycling and composting, barely up on the previous year’s rate of 42%.
In a discussion in Stormont, Sinn Féin member of the legislative assembly Cathal Boylan asked: “Given that it seems recycling levels have plateaued, how do you intend to reach the 50% target by 2020?”
Daera’s quarterly figures are provisional until the final end-year validation has been completed.
This is the sixth quarterly release of waste data since the country’s previous 26 district councils were consolidated into 11 during April 2015.
Eight of the 11 new district councils were split into two waste management groups during the reorganisation, arc21 and NWRWMG, with three not affiliated to any group.